Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Holiday Giving Ideas

The holiday shopping season is upon us, or nearly anyway.  While my first recommendation for holiday gifts would obviously be something handmade, or repurposed (although locally crafted and purchased are great options too), I get that some of you will be buying new.  Which is why I thought I would share a few things I have come across with you.

Viva Terra is starting a holiday rewards card.  Purchases of $100-$249 will get you a $25 gift card.  $250 and above gets you a $100 reward.

Ethical Ocean has put together THE COOLEST holiday shopping tool I have every seen!  The Holiday Helper Elf helps you find the exact eco gift for your friends and family.

Personally, I am doing double duty on some of my gifts.  The homeless shelter where I work has recently begun selling "Soap for Hope."  I will be making stacks of three of these sweet smelling, locally made beauties, wrapping them in brown paper and twine, and giving them as teacher/post mistress/baby sitter gifts (I will make sure to show you a picture when that happens).

What great holiday giving ideas have you had or seen?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Tired of Candy?

Have you and your kids had your fill of the sweet stuff yet?  As you work your way through those wrappers, think about turning them into something better.  Terracycle offers programs to turn your trash into fun products while giving cash to charities.  So far they've collected 2,119,218,929.0 UNITS OF TRASH.  They've also donated over $3 million to charity.  So collect those candy wrappers (and bottles, and granola bar wrappers, etc...) and sign onto Terracycle to get started.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Guest Post :: Homemade Deodorant

My friend, Jodi, who has shared with us in the past, has returned with another guest post. This time, Jodi is sharing her recipe for and experience with homemade deodorant. Take it away Jodi!

Going totally 'green' has been an overwhelming at times, process for me. It seems like there is so much out there, so much that could be cut back, or changed. Old habits are hard to break. I've been easing myself into a healthier living style. Over the past few years I've made a lot of changes for the better. Changes in diet - whole foods, little to no gluten, and fresh and local foods. Changes in cleaning habits - from chemical sprays to all natural products, experiments in floor cleaning, carpet cleaning, and getting crayon off windows (rubbing alcohol and water, 1:1!!!!). Each year I've set a goal for myself and for my family of six.

This year the goals were to make my own hygiene products and/or use something organic/natural (personal care, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant), and the rest of the house 'chemicals' such as laundry soap and dishwasher soap.

One of the first products I decided to go with changing over was the deodorant. I'm quite happy to say that it was a successful experiment and I will absolutely be using it from here on forward.

Using a recipe from here, I made a few minor changes to suit my needs, and the end product turned out great.

The recipe!

1/4 cup baking soda +
1/4 cup corn starch +
4 tablespoons coconut oil

Mix and that's it! I did melt my coconut oil to help mix it in more thoroughly, but the end product will harden back up quickly. I keep mine in a small glass canning jar in my bathroom.

The original recipe from the website suggests using Arrowroot. However, as I know this is just for a thickener and I did not want to go spend upwards of $7-$8 on a thickener, I used corn starch I had on hand. I also omitted the essential oil, simply because I did not have any. While I'm sure a few drops of yummy smelling oil would add to the great smell of coconuts, I wasn't going to buy any just for deodorant. However, if you have some on hand or know someone who can give you a few drops, definitely add it in! Make sure to pick an oil that will coincide with the coconut nicely.

Very simple to do, a few minutes set aside to make yet another lifetime change. I highly recommend you try it too!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Bartertown Diner

 On our way home from Mackinac Island, we stopped at a restaurant we had been looking forward to trying, Bartertown Diner in Grand Rapids, MI. Bartertown is a worker owned/operated vegan restaurant. The restaurant is constantly changing based on what's in season, what customers are cooking, and who is working. This place is revolutionizing food in more ways than one.

The food was good. The atmosphere was inspired. The place was inspirational.

Do you have somewhere like this by you?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

I hope you are all off having a lovely, green, Halloween.  If you need a few refreshers, here is a vintage post on greening your Halloween.  Happy Haunting!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Back In Time

Sorry for my absence. I have been celebrating. Both my anniversary and birthday were this week. So I spent some time here, on Mackinac Island.

On this tiny piece of land there are no automobiles allowed.

I forgot how much noise and smog my body had grown accustomed to until it was gone and I was left only with relief.

The waves sang me into relaxation.

It's as if the universe was painting me perfect present.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Product Review :: Sprout Watch

Going back to work, I was in need of a watch.  Since I didn't have an eco-watch in mind, I Good Searched it and came up with Sprout watches.  I chose the model above on appearance and price and got it from Zappos because they have both the best customer service and selection.

The watch is made with conflict-free diamonds, corn resin bezel, mineral crystal lens, and mercury free battery.  While I am happy with the way the watch wears and the look of it, I did have some confusion on the strap.  Online it is says faux leather, but on the (eco-friendly) packaging, it claims, genuine.  I certainly wouldn't have purchased genuine leather of any sort.  Beyond this confusion, the watch has been a good buy.

Does anyone else have a Sprout watch?  Which style?

A word on product review

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thrift Find :: Striped Shirt and Camel Handbag

On my big thrifting spree a couple weeks ago I found two classic, versatile pieces.  Together they cost me less than $10.  This Christopher & Banks striped shirt has roll up table sleeves, a mandarin collar, and of course those elongating stripes.  The camel Liz Claiborne bag is the perfect neutral piece for any outfit and looks great with fall boots!  What thrifting finds have you come across lately?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Product Review :: Brush Scrubber

I've mentioned before that we are a hand-washing household. As such, I am always on the search for the perfect (long lasting, effective) scrubber. I recently ordered the brush scrubber from Eco Cleaner Collection at Viva Terra. While I can't speak to the longevity just yet, so far we are loving the way it works. I haven't seen anything like it anywhere else. The heads are interchangeable and the scrubber holds dish soap. It has made for some happy sudsing around here...well as happy as hand-washing dishes can get.

Have you come across any great green cleaners lately?

P.S. A word on product review

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Glorious and Rare Autumn

 Glorious is the only way to describe the atmosphere here this weekend.

 Temperatures are hovering around 80...in MICHIGAN...in OCTOBER.

The sun has been shining through nearly cloudless skies for over a week straight.  

The leaves are burnt sienna, rust, golden rod, fluttering and falling in the most beautiful display.

The last of the songbirds are singing their goodbyes.

We are outside, soaking up every perfect moment of it.

An Autumn such as this is rare as diamonds and not long for the world.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Thrift Find :: Banana Republic Sweater

I made out like a bandit at the thrift store last weekend.  Our village consignment shop has combined home goods and wearables...which means a whole lotta goodies in one trip.  I am going to start sharing them with you as I pull them out and wear them/use them.

First up, Banana Republic sweater.  $5 and 20% off!!!

Sorry about the picture.  My 3 year-old is my new photographer.  What can I say?  He loves doing it and I can't deprive him the joy.

What has been your best fall clothing thrift find so far?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Harvest Festival

This little village I call home makes me smile.  Last weekend the smile came with the yearly Harvest Festival.

I am grateful for a community is brought together around an ancient celebration honoring the change of the seasons and the source of our food.

I am grateful for a Heritage Garden that the whole community can take part in.

I am grateful that I can celebrate history with my kids in our tiny historical village.

I am grateful that three generations of my family can come together to marvel at the art forms that use to clothe us and the animals that gave for that creation.

I am grateful that for the vision of my eldest standing on the caboose of a retired train, watching an active one move goods across the fields of fall.

I am so grateful for this time of year.
What is your favorite thing about harvest time?